Muharraq coastline facelift on track
Manama, March 23, 2014
A cut-price revamp of the Muharraq coastline could go ahead, after private investors pulled out of a BD25 million ($65.9 million) project earlier this month.
New plans for a BD5 million government development have been put forward by the Muharraq Municipality, which is keen to push ahead with regeneration of the area, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The Al Ghous Corniche, which is located between two bridges linking Muharraq and Manama, has long been earmarked for a major new leisure, tourism and shopping development.
However, private investors who planned to pump in BD25 million withdrew after waiting years for the land to be made available.
"It has taken a long time for development to go ahead and we have decided to step in with our own plans," said municipality director-general Saleh Al Fadhala.
The original investors - a consortium of Turkish, Saudi and local businessmen - pulled out because government-owned land, which had been earmarked for the project, was never signed over.
That is despite the project being approved in 2012 by Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka'abi, who said the land belonged to a public sector company and needed to be signed over to his ministry.
Work should have started early last year, but stalled due to delays in transferring the deeds.
Officials now plan to use land already designated for municipal use to go ahead with development, although on a smaller scale than originally planned.
"We work with what we have and that's municipal plots of land registered under the municipality's name," added Al Fadhala. "It will cost around BD5 million to develop the place.
"General artist impressions are being drawn up and it will be soon tendered to the highest bidder."
The new development will include restaurants, a theme park, shops selling fishing equipment and other businesses.
However, it will be a more modest development than that envisaged by private investors - who wanted to build a resort, shopping mall, indoor and outdoor theme parks, a jetty for fishermen, an open beach, an office tower, commercial and residential buildings, a fish market and a marina.
The Al Ghous Corniche has already undergone a facelift and the first phase of redevelopment was completed eight years ago, with the introduction of children's rides and other facilities at a cost of BD700,000.
Plans for a second phase development worth BD2 million, including restaurants and a maritime complex, never went ahead. - TradeArabia News Service